Scientists have observed for the first time an exotic quadruple helix DNA structure in living human cells, opens up possibilities for targeted therapies for cancer.
DNA double helix structure was discovered by Watson and Crick in 1953, becoming one of the symbol of modern science. No one had observed different conformations until the beginning of 1990, when it was observed the formation of quadruple helix DNA in vitro.
Researchers team at the University of Cambridge, led by italian biologist Giulia Biffi, discovered a DNA exotic structure consists of a quadruple helix in living human cancer cells, using antibodies programmed to selectively bind the 4-stranded DNA structure. The discovery was published in the prestigious journal Nature Chemistry. Quadruple helyx configuration is named G Quadruplex, because of guanine has a fundamental role in the generation of 4-stranded configuration. Scientists have shown that the formation of the structure occurs during the process of DNA replication and speculated that may have an important role in this process.
This feature may be related to the formation of cancer cells. If this hypothesis was confirmed, it opens up possibilities for a new generation of targeted therapies for cancer.